1. Check out your local supermarkets
You might be surprised to learn that many supermarkets offer wedding cakes, and you might be even more surprised to see just how beautiful some of them are! Supermarkets such as Giant, Wal-Mart, Safeway, Publix and Albertsons offer a wide selection of wedding cakes starting as low as 64 cents per serving. According to the Wedding Channel, the average cost of a wedding cake from a bakery is between $3 and $6 per serving! That’s a pretty significant difference. I attended a wedding where the bride purchased her cake at Safeway, and I have to say, I was definitely surprised at how nice it looked, and the bride only paid around $200! Another perk of supermarket cakes is the time frame. If you have a short amount of time to plan your wedding, a supermarket cake might be the perfect choice, as most only require a few weeks notice — whereas a bakery generally needs several months to a year!
2. Check out local culinary schools
If you live near a culinary school that has a pastry program, you may be in luck! Many culinary schools will create wedding cakes (along with cakes for other occasions) at a much lower price than bakeries. If the school itself does not accept orders, you can contact the career services department of the school and ask them to put you in contact with some of the students, who you could hire directly. You’ll not only save money on the cake, but you’ll be helping out a student!
3. Go simple
Without a doubt, adding customization, extra ingredients and small details on wedding cakes is the easiest way to rack up the bill. Instead, go for something simple, and eliminate the labor-intensive details. If you were considering a caramel-macchiato cake infused with espresso or a carrot cake with bavarian cream and nuts, consider going with a classic flavor such as vanilla or strawberry instead. For the decorations, instead of an intricate floral design, go with a simple ribbon embellishment. Basically, the more you add to the cake, the higher the price will go — and the difference can be as much as several dollars per serving! Another option to stay within budget is to order the cake with no decorations and add them yourself.
4. Get a small tiered cake and a sheet cake
This is a great option if you want an elaborate cake but can’t afford one large enough to feed everyone. Get the luxurious, detailed cake that you’ve been dreaming of, just get a smaller version of it. Along with the tiered caked, order a sheet cake in the same flavor to serve your guests. Most people won’t even realize that it didn’t come from the cake on display!
5. Consider a cupcake tower
Everyone loves cupcakes, right? I know I do! Since cupcakes are much less expensive than an elaborate wedding cake, a cupcake tower can be a unique, fun way to cut down on costs. Cupcakes from a bakery typically run about $2 per cupcake and up, depending on how you want them decorated. If you’re considering doing your own baking, consider purchasing grocery store cupcakes and decorating them yourself with fresh flowers, edible glitter or sugar flowers. There are more pros to cupcakes than just the cost, though! Since cupcakes are already the perfect size, there is no need to have someone cutting and serving, and no need to try to figure out what size cake to order.
6. Go for faux layers
That’s right, I said faux layers! You may have even been to a wedding where the cake had faux layers, and you didn’t even know it! If you want a grandiose cake but your budget won’t allow for it, ask the baker to make several of the tiers fake. The baker will use styrofoam (or something comparable) and will frost and decorate it the same as the rest of the cake. You’ll still get that grandiose, show-stopping cake, and no one will know that it’s not all cake at all!
7. Skip the fondant
Fondant can give a wedding cake a beautiful, smooth look, but it is by far the priciest of all the icing choices. Instead, opt for a buttercream or cream cheese icing. Not only will it save some cash, but most would agree that it tastes much better! Another plus to buttercream is that it won’t crack or sweat like fondant can. Just be cautious if your wedding is in a warm climate, as buttercream and cream cheese frosting will melt if they get too warm.